North Texas Showcase on Sustainability There were some unusual sightings in Dallas in mid-July—pedestrians, lots of them, in spite of 101-degree heat. The occasion was the North Texas Sustainable Showcase 2011 that was staged at several venues within an easy walk from each other, giving reason for why many of the nearly 300 attendees were strolling along the sidewalks—a welcome site for the newly thriving Uptown neighborhood. d a l l a s
State Revises Accessibility Standards To Correspond with ADA Guidelines
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performance hardware, construction recycling) to the visionary, such as landscape architect and urban designer Kevin Sloan’s thoughtprovoking discussion about what might make American cities really work. The first evening’s keynote speaker was Thom Mayne, FAIA, (shown at left) of Morphosis, who has been in Dallas frequently while working on the new Perot Museum of Nature and Science. He started with an impassioned plea to architects to understand how the design of buildings shapes human behavior, stating, “Architects have a huge amount of influence.” He stressed the profession’s responsibility to respond to all aspects of a project, including its impact on the environment. Sessions and keynotes were interspersed with breakfast, lunch, and plenty of time to tour the exhibit area. This year’s Sustainable Showcase offered North Texas professionals of different disciplines many opportunities for inspiration, as well as practical education and networking. The annual event has expanded in both attendance and focus, demonstrating the increasing interest in the design and construction community to include high-performance measures in all projects.
anticipation changed over that period from “any day now” to “maybe someday.” Finally, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder signed the revised ADA regulations on July 23, 2010, just three days before the twentieth anniversary of the initial passage of that landmark legislation. T he new federa l standards were pu blished u nder the title 2010 Standards for Accessible Design, which is officially – and unfor t unately – a bbrev iated as SAD. The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation chose to avoid using the same acronym and has wisely named its version the 2012 Texas Accessibility Standards (2012 TAS), which represents a nearly exact reiteration of the revised federal standards. An advance posting of the proposed 2012 TAS is available on the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation website at http:// www.license.state.tx.us/ab/TAS%202012%20 Draft.pdf. State officials are currently soliciting public comments on the proposed standards prior to their being adopted next year.
As proposed, the few differences between SAD and 2012 TAS occur in the latter’s first and second chapters (“Application” and “Scoping Requirements,” respectively) and will be hardly noticeable. Most involve references to the government entities or reconcile federal guidelines with Texas statutes resulting from the Texas Architectural Barriers Act. Italics are used in the document to denote changes and additions from the previous TAS. The current online version uses red italics. Other changes contained in the preliminary version of 2012 TAS will prove helpful to Texas architects. They include: • section numbering that matches with 2010 SAD, the International Building Code, and A117.1 Standard for Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities from the International Code Council/American National Standards Institute; • enhanced definitions of terms; • a comprehensive index; • additional cross references; and • advisory notes as commentary.
BETSY DEL MONTE, FAIA
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CREDIT FOR PHOTOS OF NORTH TEXAS SUSTAINABILITY SHOWCASE GREENSOURCEDFW.ORG
One year after the publication of revised federal accessibility standards, state officials have released a preliminary version of a Texas-specific companion document with architectural guidelines that almost seamlessly correspond with those contained in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). With the proposed state standards now available online, the long-awaited synchronization of overlapping governmental guidelines represents a welcome change from previous years when Texas architects were required to crosscheck federal and state standards. W hen federal ADA revisions were completed in 2004, there was an expectation that the new architectural standards would be quickly adopted by the State of Texas. However, because the ADA laws and its architectural guidelines had to be analyzed and approved by the U.S. Department of Justice, the process took six years. For practitioners in Texas, the
The two-day event was co-sponsored by three organizations that often cooperate but seldom collaborate. AIA Dallas joined the local chapters of the Construction Specifiers Institute (CSI) and U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to host the fourth annual event. Acting hosts were Chris Mundell, AIA, president of CSI Dallas; Thom Powell, AIA, vice president/treasurer of AIA Dallas; and Jonathan Kraatz, interim executive director of USGBC North Texas. The collaboration of the three groups gave a unique triple-focus to the event. All programs focused on aspects of sustainability and high-performance buildings. First, from an architectural viewpoint, speakers were chosen to expand theoretical thinking about how sustainability can affect building design and urban planning. Second, sessions informed attendees about specific technical details of implementation of high-performance building. Third, expanded exhibit space provided a showcase for innovative materials and processes to help with design and specification to achieve sustainability. The multitude of educational offerings made it difficult to choose which session to attend. Presentations ranged from the highly technical (e.g., stormwater management, high-